Roberto Martinez has spoken of the need to have 27 or 28 first team players to challenge on four fronts next season. Who from the current retained list can force their way into Roberto’s plans? Are there any youngsters ready to make the step up?

Following on from Part 1 looking at the goalkeepers and defenders, here is my analysis of the current midfielders players at our disposal. There are obvious gaps in these positions and the idea is to open up debate on the shape of the squad for next season and where additions are needed. Of the youngsters I have mentioned, a good pre season will be essential in order to stake their claims.

Central midfielders

James McCarthy - I was very sceptical when he arrived. I thought we had paid too much for him and he wasn’t necessarily an improvement on what we had. However, after an exceptional first season he has well truly proved myself and other doubters wrong. His tenacity and work rate coupled with an eye for a pass and good technical ability make him one of the most effective midfielders in the division. At 22 his best years are ahead of him and could be held in the same esteem as some the greats who played in midfield should he remain at the club.
Verdict: Key player.

Darron Gibson - Injuries have seen him fall down the pecking order. Deceptively quick and an eye for goal he needs an injury free season to re-establish himself. I see him as McCarthy stand in, rather than someone who can stake a claim for the first 11 in the big games. I also fear the two are too similar to form a truly effective midfield partnership McCarthy would be more effective with a deep play-maker type beside him to allow him to surge forward more regularly.
Verdict: Important squad player, but needs prove injury worries are behind him.

Leon Osman - The only player to feature in every Premier League game this season. Whether he can claim to be in the first choice 11 is doubtful but he is certainly and important member of the squad. Seems to be an intelligent footballer to me how has made improvements to his game each season. He no longer gets muscled off the ball as frequently and can fill a variety of midfield positions. Loves to be at the centre of intricate passing movement and often glides past opponents a la Paul Scholes.
Verdict: seems to get better with age, important first team player.

Ryan Ledson - Appears to be the next great hope. Likes a tackle and has a good range of passing. Held in high esteem at the club and seems to be highlighted as one who can be fast tracked towards the first team by those who know best. Exciting talent and certainly one to watch out for. However, I hope we don’t raise the bar unrealistically high for this kid. I have not seen enough of him to make a firm judgement, but my early impressions are what does he do that is outstanding? To reach the highest level you have to be more than just a good all rounder and I have not yet seen anything stand out about this young man yet.
Verdict: Still early days in his career, but high hopes of some first team involvement.

John Lundstram - Another with high hopes. Shouldn’t be too dissapointed by not standing out in his loan spell for Yeovil. Relegation dog fights in the Championship are not the places to judge young prospects and he fared much better in previous loan spells. From what I seen of him at Yeovil he is a busy midfielder who looks assured on the ball. Took most of the set pieces which shows his technique is good.
Verdict: Still young enough to continue his development on loan or in U21s, pre season should determine whether he is ready to feature in the first team.

Conor Grant - Had an excellent pre season last year but injury put pay to hopes of any first team involvement. Some good performances for the U21s at the end of the year show pre season was not a fluke. Classy looking left footer who has an eye for a pass. Should be well suited to Roberto’s philosphy.
Verdict: If he can prove his fitness should feature in less important cup games.

Francisco Junior da Silva - A bit of a forgotten man who spent much of last season out on loan in Norway? I don’t know much about the standard he played at or but think he did OK. His previous loan in Holland was unsuccessful. Featured heavily in pre-season a couple of seasons ago and may even have made an appearance in a League cup tie (unfortunately my memory of this is a little hazy) [yes, in the infamous defeat Leeds United Ed] but his Everton career has stalled since.
Verdict: Crunch season has pre season to impress or he may be out on loan again before being released.

Attacking midfielders / Wingers

Kevin Mirallas - Inconsistent season for me. Roberto talked up his ability to play in a central role but this proved unsuccessful. His form to return near the end of the season, but injury saw him sit out the last few games. His pace is vital and adds another dimension to our play. However can be frustrating when he does not release the ball soon enough. Good finisher whose goals return should be higher.
Verdict: Important first team player who could become a key player if he scores on a more regular basis.

Ross Barkley - Breakthrough season with some stand out performances and exceptional goals. The comparisons with some illustrious names in world football are testament to his ability. Its equally pleasing to see is that he appears to be grounded and is happy to continue his development at his boyhood club. For me if he picked a pass more often, as he did for Naismith in the Man City game he would be the finished article.
Verdict: Potentially World Class, we must resist the temptation to cash in another Rooney saga would be crushing.

Steven Pienaar - Did not reach his usual high standards before his injury, but still an integral member of the squad. For me, most of our most inventive eye catching football is through him usually in tandem with Baines. Although he lacks pace, he is extremely strong and can retain possession under pressure. Is our most gifted footballer, with quick feet and a bagful of tricks to gain a yard.
Verdict: No longer a key player, but still important.

Aiden McGeady - Some impressive cameos in the brief time he has been with us. After a full pre-season we would expect him to become a more important player in the coming season. Bags of pace and tricks who will hopefully have us on our feet on a regular basis next season.
Verdict: still questions to be asked about consistency and end product but should become an important first team player.

Matthew Kennedy - Another who is highly thought of and already has SPL experience. A pacy and tricky winger who is at the right age and development stage to experience first team football should Roberto feel he is ready.
Verdict: A good preseason may result in some lesser cup outings for the Scot.

Magaye Gueye - He didn’t go out on loan and didn’t feature for the first team, and it looks like Magaye’s days are numbered at Goodison. No longer a youngster, the winger / forward’s career seems to have stalled. A tidy footballer with a decent left foot, but lacks the tricks of an out and out winger. Verdict: Seems destined for a level below Premier League.

George Green - Big things were expected of George but he did not feature much for the U21s so is probably still a little way from the first team. Did well for U18s and in the Youth Cup before injury interrupted his season. Left footed and a school yard dribbler he should excite playing off the front man.
Verdict: A prospect but needs further development before reaching first team level.

Clearly we are short centrally and perhaps in wide areas depending on the development of some of our young wingers. Certainly some summer recruitments are essential. I am keeping everything crossed that Gareth Barry signs. His skillset is a valuable commodity, and he compliments James McCarthy well. I fear if he does not sign Roberto may revert to a back 3 or take a gamble on a less able, less experienced option. Jack Rodwell’s name keeps cropping up who I seem more in the McCarthy/Gibson mould. A tremendous talent in my opinion, a great athlete, and would improve our weakest area of the team heading. Fitness problems have plagued his development but some of his final appearances before his injury for us were beginning to show signs of fulfilling his potential. Along with Rooney I always feel like he is the one that got away.

In wide areas Gerard would obviously be an asset but that looks like a no go. Thomas Ince and Callum McManaman would be other options, although neither player has set the world alight this season.

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Carl Rutherford
1 Posted 29/05/2014 at 22:57:21
Also I would consider Nathan Redmond's name for potential wingers. I have been impressed with him whenever I have seen him, also seems to have the right down to earth mentality to fit in with the squad. Alternatively Hatem Ben Arfa seems to be out of favour at Newcastle, lightening quick and ghosts past defenders but perhaps too much baggage for me. If we simply want cover then Marc Albrighton and Matthew Etherington are available on frees, I am sure both could do a job if we would prefer to spend funds elsewhere.

Another midfield option would be Diame at West Ham, he knows the manager (Wigan) and is rumoured to have a release fee in the region of 3.5m. To me this would represent a bargain price for a good quality midfielder, but again he would not be a direct replacement for Barry and prefers a more advanced midfield role. Does he have the discipline to cover for our fullbacks?

Colin Glassar
2 Posted 29/05/2014 at 23:18:25
Carl, I'm a massive Redmond fan, I hope Roberto reads this.
James Stewart
3 Posted 29/05/2014 at 23:45:13
Redmond would be a wise purchase. Much better than Ince.

Benega is available and still only young. Different class to Rodwell and if we are serious about getting into the top 4 we need to aim higher. Rodwell and Gibson would give you about 20 games between them if you are lucky.

Steve Carter
4 Posted 30/05/2014 at 04:34:29
I've enjoyed reading your two articles, Carl. There always has to be someone who makes a picky point, though, and mine is your reference to Baines and Barkley being, respectively, 'World Class' and 'potentially World Class'.

It depends on what your definition or description is of that term, of course, but neither, surely, could be mentioned in the same breath as the likes of Messi, Bale, Yaya Toure, et. al. For another, both might make, but aren't certainties of making, the England (ranked 11th by FIFA) first choice run on side.

Wayne Smyth
5 Posted 30/05/2014 at 07:40:48
Steve, my initial thoughts were to agree with you. Then I thought that actually Baines is probably the best left back in our league. Which made me think who out there is better than him?

David Alaba? Jordi Alba? I can't say I've seen either much, but both are highly rated. Philip Lahm yes, but hasn't he converted to a defensive midfielder under Guardiola?

I think there are certainly better attacking left backs than him. There are also better defenders than him. But as a whole, including his set pieces, he's probably at his peak and would probably get into or very close to being included in a world team. That said, he seems to have played well below par since his double against West Ham....but still well enough to be England's first choice reasonably comfortably.

Barkley, far too soon to say. He certainly has the potential to be up there. Physically he is already the complete player. The nature of the goals he's scored this season suggest he has abilities that are rarely seen.

The goal against Newcastle where he dribbled the ball from our half to their goal, faster than all of their players, then finished with such composure and power isn't the kind of goal that players usually score, never mind someone just turned 20 and in their first full season of top flight football.

His decision-making is often poor, but for a creative player at his age, you'd expect that will come with experience. He'll be a cracking player if he can stay injury free and grounded; whether he can go on to be a bona-fide world star is something we're probably a few years from finding out.

He's in a similar situation to Rooney. Someone who had the ability to be talked of in the same breath as Ronaldo, Messi or Ibrahimovic, but has fallen quite a bit short, probably because of his life decisions.

David Ellis
6 Posted 30/05/2014 at 08:14:30
Nicely balanced and well thought out OP.

Depending on how the youth players shape in pre-season, I think we must be adding two experienced central defensive midfielders. Cleverly, Barry and Rodwell are the three that are mentioned. I think the first two make sense. I would prefer to take Rodwell as central defender he does not have the right imagination to play in midfield, even defensive midfield.

For creative central midfielders, it would be nice to have another option in the centre to Barkley and Osman but this may not be a requirement depending what reinforcements we get in the central striking role. Towards the end of the season, we were playing with two upfront which negated the need for a midfielder in this role. Also, I think Pienaar can play well in that position and his lack of pace may be less of a liability there (although he does not score enough).

Out wide, we need a replacement for Deulofeu preferably that lad that is at Barcelona and just got the call up to the Spanish squad he's called Deulofeu (if only for one more year).

Daniel Ford
7 Posted 30/05/2014 at 08:31:23
Nice read... You did forget Naismith though.

Personally I think Gibson is more a replacement for Barry than McCarthy. Gibson doesn't have the legs to play the McCarthy role, but then not many do given he's a machine.

Carl Rutherford
8 Posted 30/05/2014 at 08:44:44

Fair point; of course, neither player is in the same bracket as those you have mentioned but those players are game-changers in game-changing positions. I would have described Southall as world class as he was the best in his position at the time. However he could not have had the same influence on the game as Messi. Likewise, I think Baines is among the best in the world in his position.

It is course entirely subjective. Barkley is miles away from being world class but, at the same age, Bale was still a left back who hadn't played in a winning Tottenham team. He needs to add a variety of passes to his game and improve on his decision-making. But certainly what he has you can't teach... so, by those standards, I think he can be world class. It is of course entirely subjective and worthy of debate.

Sam Hoare
9 Posted 30/05/2014 at 09:15:55
Carl, I think Albrighton has signed for Leicester.

Banega is a much more creative option than Rodwell or Cleverley and could really add some class.

We should have got Redmond last summer for 2.5m (probably what we payed to loan Deulofeu); now he'll probably cost at least twice as much.

Hopefully we can tie up the Barry signing soon as he was a very important cog in last season's success.

Malcolm Joyner
10 Posted 30/05/2014 at 09:19:32
Whilst most if not all of the youngsters mentioned will, no doubt, feature 'in the 28', most will see little action apart from in 'Europa dead rubbers' just as it was under Moyes.

Every year, we hear that 'this is the best crop ever' and every year almost all the kids fade away to make a career at Brentford, Yeovil and Altrincham. Even a string of England junior caps is no passport to serious first-team consideration and only at Southampton has precocious talent been translated into Premier League star quality.

Will Roberto prove any different to previous managers in this this direction? Somehow I doubt it. There's too much at stake to take the chance.

Paul Andrews
11 Posted 30/05/2014 at 10:00:51

Re Ledson and "what does he do that is outstanding?"

He is 16 years old. Bit early for a statement like that if you don't mind me saying.

Mark Pierpoint
12 Posted 30/05/2014 at 10:35:04
Good article, Carl, liked the first one as well. Your articles go to prove what good options we have in the youth teams at Everton. Ledson you would think has the potential to go far, but I doubt he will be a first team option for a good few years yet as he is only 16.

Lundstram? Question marks for me. Has never seemingly pushed on; like Francisco Junior, you would imagine his career will have to go down a few leagues with maybe the hope of moving up a la Ricky Lambert.

Does Redmond have the all-round game to make it as a top player? that would be my only question on him. Let's be honest, over the season, he did not set the world on fire at Norwich. I would prefer Ince who I am sure could take on the Pienaar role better. Tall, strong, athletic and scores goals.

I think he will probably move abroad, but at 22 with something to prove, I think any player would be mad to turn down Everton. We would turn him into an England international I am sure, I think he could quickly become a forgotten man, especially if he joined Monaco and maybe still if he went to Inter.

Peter Lee
13 Posted 30/05/2014 at 09:53:12

People have short memories. The vast majority of posters at the time thought we had robbed Man City blind to get what we did for a journeyman. Those who disagreed thought we were letting a future star go.

Well, now we know who was right, let’s not exercise ourselves discussing whether or not to bring back a player who had no vision and who let people run past him time after time as he focussed on the ball.

It doesn’t matter what his price/wages are, they will be too much for "not good enough". Lovely lad though he is.

Mike Allison
14 Posted 30/05/2014 at 12:02:44
Steve, does 'possibly the best player in his position in the world' make someone world class? Philipp Lahm is right-footed, which for me makes him a right-back despite his class wherever he gets put.

"Well now we know who was right" is that it then? Rodwell's career is officially over as announced by Peter Lee on the 30 May 2014. I hope no-one tells him as he's only just turned 23 and probably thinks he's still got at least 10 years in him. Crikey, I hope you show more perseverance in your personal life.

As for Redmond, there were those of us last summer saying we should sign him, I'd watched 10 mins of an England U-21 and could see the potential. I guess you can't really blame Martinez as he was coming into a new job, but he's on a list of young-ish English players who could be bought for a reasonable fee and made substantially better by our coaches and by being in our team.

Paul Andrews
15 Posted 30/05/2014 at 12:35:04
A 23-year-old journeyman, Peter?
Carl Rutherford
16 Posted 30/05/2014 at 12:37:35
Paul, of course you are right about Ledson. I do have high hopes for him but I have not seen enough of him yet and included that statement for balance. I have seen and heard about enough talents over the years to know that the most important stage of his development is to come.
Kevin Tully
17 Posted 30/05/2014 at 13:02:29
We will clearly be in the market for midfielders and strikers this summer, but it is scary how light we are the moment. Ossie and Pienaar are no longer at the peak of their powers, and we will be lucky if we manage to get 15 appearances from Gibson. I believe Bobby would like to use Osman and Pienaar as squad players only next season, not as first names on the team sheet as in previous years.

Mirallas, McCarthy and Barkley are nailed on starters, and even Mirallas needs resting from time to time, probably rotating with McGeady. We need two first choice midfielders, but will have to settle for loans again. It looks as if Barry is not interested in signing if all the noises from the press are to be believed.

Naismith & Kone will not bag 30 between them, but will be decent squad players, especially in Europe.

As ever, we need a striker, but do we spunk 70 or 80% of our whole kitty on one player? Over to you, Bobby.

Bill Griffiths
18 Posted 30/05/2014 at 14:06:32
Good post, Carl, as was Part 1. If we were to sign all the players we have been linked to so far, we could probably field two or three teams in Europe, never mind one.

Personally, I tend to ignore all these rumours and will wait and see who Roberto signs. I've got to say that, on the face of it, most names linked don't impress me (eg, Rodwell, Cleverley) but I think we have to respect Roberto's judgement and give whoever he does bring in a fair chance, even if they may not appear to be what we want initially.

Wayne Smyth
19 Posted 30/05/2014 at 14:43:50
Kevin, why do you assume we'll have to rely on loans to cover our central midfield?

We could probably nab experienced players such as Banega and Guilavogui and still have change from 10M...and that's assuming Barry doesn't come back on a free.

I reckon that Martinez probably has somewhere around 30m to play with and I'd be shocked if we didn't see him sign a few gems from the Spanish league or elsewhere to complement Garbutt, Grant and/or Browning, as part of the new faces he thinks we need this season. No doubt he'll use our loan complement up too. In fact, Banega on loan with an option would be really good.

Next season, I'm hopeful we won't have the massive injury list we had this season. We are in need of a real quality front-man to lead the line, but with Gibson, Oviedo and Kone back from long-term injury they give us a bit more depth and experience and our squad no longer looks that thin.

Two things that should help us secure top quality talent is firstly European football, and secondly the draw of Martinez at the helm who I think most players with their heads screwed on would love to play for. Last season, even us fans were wondering if Martinez was the unlucky FA Cup winner, or the lucky guy who got his team relegated. I'm hopeful but not fully certain that that argument is now settled.

I'm really looking forward to see which signings he makes. If you remember last year we made a serious approach for Fernando at Porto, now coveted by the richest clubs around. This time around we have more cash and Martinez is more aware of where the squad needs improving.

Brian Harrison
20 Posted 30/05/2014 at 15:42:53
I think there are a lot of questions about our squad for next season. Looks like we will have to possibly replace 2 guaranteed first team places from last season, as well as losing Deulofeu. Plus Osman and Pienaar probably wont be able to play as many games next season as age is catching up with them. Yes we will have Kone,Gibson and possibly Traore back from long time injuries, but with Gibsons poor injury record we cant automatically pencil him into the Barry role.

So I suspect this close season will be very important, as to who we replace Lukaku and Barry with as well as strengthen in other positions. Plus we will have the extra Europa league to contend with. Then there is the question of what will happen if Barkley has a very good World Cup, I doubt we could ill afford to lose Barkley as well as the other 2 players. Yes we will get good money for him if he goes, but you cant keep selling your best players and hope to attract top talent to replace these players.

Tony McNulty
21 Posted 30/05/2014 at 16:07:00
After last night's "Question Time", does anyone feel that the addition of Joey Barton would help to garner additional female support?
Jay Harris
22 Posted 30/05/2014 at 15:59:12
Agree with most posts except for:

Ledson - far too young and too big a jump in level at this stage of his career.

Rodwell - worth a punt - Still young enough and experienced quality player due an injury free period.

On the funding front I think it is very important to get the best striker available to us. Lukaku proved the worth of a 20+ goals a season striker and he only bagged 14. I would love us to go all out and get a Dzeko or Balotelli who can bully defenders and hold the ball up while still being prominent in goalscoring.

I think Barry or replacement is also key.

I would prefer us to get 2 top quality players in rather than 7 or 8 squad players.

Carl Rutherford
23 Posted 30/05/2014 at 16:20:41
Peter I was never one to celebrate the fee we got for rodwell. Though given the players we got in on the back of his sale few could argue this wasn't good business. I would also agree that his performances rarely hit the levels you would expect of a top class midfielder. However the attributes he has, a burst of pace, strength and technique make me believe there is a top player in there. Remember he was a central defender up to the age of 18 - perhaps he just needs to learn his trade? His performances did improve in his final season for us culminating in an england call up. In the two games he played for england he looked absolutely top class. Could it have been our style of play inhibited his development? Injuries have ruined his chances at man city and may plague the rest of career, but I think if we can get him and not significantly dent our budget he could still turn into a gem of a player.
Anthony Jones
24 Posted 30/05/2014 at 16:43:04
Rodwell was an also-ran in our midfield in most of the games he played in. His crab passing betrayed his origins as a CB. Selling him to City for a decent sum was great business, and injuries still plague him. Stay away.
Al Reddish
25 Posted 30/05/2014 at 17:03:14
Mainly accurate and a very good read. However, I have to disagree with the Osman assessment. To me he certainly does not improve every year and he still gets muscled off the ball at the slightest touch. Was at fault for a few goals after cheaply losing possession last season and disappointingly was his lack of desire to track back after making a mistake. This may be orders from the boss as Ozzie is usually one of the first to help out his defenders, or it may simply be his legs have gone.

The second point I disagree with is most of our most eye catching play was through Pienaar and Baines. This was certainly true in the Moyes era, at least until Coleman and Mirallas formed a partnership, now days however, all Pienaar does is slow things down to pedestrian pace. Look how much quicker on the break we were, and the results that went with it, when the South African was injured for the last 3 months of the season. Like Ozzie, his best days are behind him but probably just good enough to remain in the squad, and will find it harder than ever to stake a claim for a starting place once Oviedo fully recovers.

Kevin Tully
26 Posted 30/05/2014 at 17:09:56
I would be surprised if the manager was given 30m to spend Wayne. It's only a guess of course, but I would say we are more likely to have around 20m as our transfer pot this summer. That's the reason I think we may be relying heavily on the loan market again.

What would a Bony, Lukaku or even a Welbeck cost? I can't see the likes of City or Chelsea being as keen to loan their players either, will they look upon us as a genuine threat this season?

Mike Allison
27 Posted 30/05/2014 at 17:31:02
"Rodwell was an also-ran in our midfield in most of the games he played in."

Maybe. Two years ago, at the age of 21. Rodwell's career hasn't really started yet. I can't believe the people happy to write him because he wasn't already the complete player by the age of 21. Wasn't one of the first things Martinez said when he joined us that English football fails to progress its players between the ages of 18-21? He's gone nowhere at City, it was a crazy signing for them. The potential is all still there, he just needs good coaching, rather than assuming he'll produce because some money was spent on him.

Wayne Smyth
28 Posted 30/05/2014 at 17:50:08
Kevin so far as I can tell, the club is better off to the tune of 30m from this years additional tv revenue, plus we have what is left of last years transfer pot when I think we made a profit of 10m+.

Even allowing for wages, agents fees and increased contracts for existing players, if 20M is all he has I'll be both surprised and worried. Martinez seemed keen on Lukaku at 20M and I'm not sure he'd be so happy if that was everything he had.

I'm unsure if chelsea and city see us as a threat. We're so far off them over the course of a season, I can't see them worried. If anything we more likely to make their job easier by beating the teams most people expect to challenge them(RS, Arse, Utd)

Patrick Murphy
29 Posted 30/05/2014 at 18:14:21
I think the 'profit' from last season's transfer pot has already been used up in loan fees and wages so I would think we'll have around 10 - 15m to spend, and any additional money will come from player sales. More wheeling and dealing to do during the latter part of the window - there's another 12 weeks of this futile speculation to go....hurry up the World Cup.
Mark Frere
30 Posted 30/05/2014 at 19:20:14
A good read, Carl, but I don't agree McCarthy and Gibson are similar players at all. McCarthy is all about work-rate, covering every blade of grass, making vital tackles and passing it simple without giving the ball away.

Gibson on the other hand, is not anyway near as mobile as McCarthy (who is?) but he sits deep and has an excellent range of passing....would be a perfect partner for McCarthy if he could by some miracle could stay fit for most of the season. The two of them have very different attributes.

With all the extra games next season, two more central midfielders are imperative. Hopefully Barry will be one of them.

This Transfer Window is of massive importance...we've lost 3 big players in Lukaku, Barry and Deulofeu...and with all the extra games, RM will have to work some magic on limited funds.

John Daley
31 Posted 30/05/2014 at 19:27:37
Not too much to disagree with in your player assessments there. Although, suggesting 'strong man' Steven Pienaar is some short-arsed, South African Incredible Hulk, is pushing it just a bit ('Don't make me angry. You wouldn't like me when I'm angry. I'll..err...fall to the floor feigning contact, doing one of those silly little pirouettes on my way down even though they don't look as spectacular now i'm shorn of my dreads. Failing that, i'll get in my car and start driving really, really fast with flagrant disregard for road safety. Consider yourself warned. Shithouse.')

The only exception, for me, would be the description of Darron Gibson:

"Deceptively quick and an eye for goal"

He's only scored twice in his Everton career and, considering he came with a reputation for scoring screamers, his shooting has been consistently shite. He even played for a prolonged period where he deliberately resisted opportunities to shoot incase it resulted in an injury reoccurring. I definitely wouldn't hold out any hopes of him adding goals to the midfield next season (or any season come to that).

As for his 'deceptive' turn of pace? He must keep it shrouded under a Keyser Soze style cloak of secrecy because I'll readily admit to never, ever, noticing it but, then again, maybe I've just been blinded by his bizarre Baron Greenback style body shape.

To be honest I regard Gibson as one of the most overrated players Everton have had for a long time. The fact we remained unbeaten with him in the side for a while perhaps made it seem like he was integral to the teams success. However, I just don't see it. Even his much vaunted 'range of passing' is rarely utilised. More often than not it boils down to the simple task of collecting the ball and immediately spreading it out wide and then, when he does attempt a penetrating pass, it too often tends to go astray.

For me, McCarthy is a massive upgrade, possessing more pace, power, technique and tenacity. The fact he's actually able to get out of bed in the morning and put his slippers on without suddenly keeling over and rolling about his bedroom floor like he's been wrapped in a burning carpet also helps his cause.

Carl Rutherford
32 Posted 30/05/2014 at 22:55:36
John, that made me laugh. Worst thing was I just watched the England game and heard Andy Townsend describe Raheem Sterling as strong and thought what a knobhead! I meant in the Diego Maradona holding off defenders with the ball at his feet sense rather than tearing a grown man limb from limb and knocking down skyscrapers!
Clive Lewis
33 Posted 30/05/2014 at 23:37:39
Hoolahan and Redmond would be good additions. Hoolahan is 32 but suspect would be cheap.
Douglas McClenaghan
34 Posted 31/05/2014 at 01:24:57
Another great read, including the comments. I suspect that RM will blindside us all with some deft loans and canny purchases from left of field. I hope he reads the various Everton forums and gets a good chuckle. Onya Bobby!
Darryl Ritchie
35 Posted 31/05/2014 at 03:14:59
Just one thing to add to discussion.

I was never too impressed with Rodwell in the midfield. But....what about Rodwell in central defence? He started his career there. He has good size, fairly good foot-speed. If it could work, he and John Stones could be our back two for a decade.

Karl Graham
36 Posted 31/05/2014 at 14:53:26
I'd like two out of Milner, Barry and Rodwell for the two holding roles! Number 10 we've got plenty of cover with Barkley, Osman, Naismith, Pienaar. We've got McGeady and Mirallas who are both right-footed so hopefully we can get two left footers. I would move both Junior and Gueye on.
Mike Allison
37 Posted 01/06/2014 at 09:52:04
Darryl, I disagree and prefer him in midfield. He'd be a Barry style holding midfielder in the long term but with greater technical attributes. However, you may well be right, the central defender/holding midfielder crossover is something we don't do in English football much, but is totally natural in Spain. Ivan Helguera, Fernando Hierro and Miguel Angel Nadal all played both positions at the highest level, and Barcelona have regularly used midfielders in central defence in the last few years. Either way, I'd be looking to introduce Rodwell into the side in midfield first, and then possibly move backwards based on what we see.

Rodwell's only problem (apart from injury) seems to be a lack of intelligence. This was alluded to in Phil Neville's 'teammates' interview on Soccer AM a couple of years ago and suggests he has failed to figure out for himself some important things about the way he is going to be the most effective footballer he can be. This may be crucial as the positions we're talking about demand thought, concentration and organisation. This will partially come with experience, but I think he's a guy who's been let down by the coaching and management he's received since the age of 18. If this were to be put right, I believe he can still be an absolutely top class player for Everton and England. I for one hold out the hope that this will still happen.

Mark Frere
38 Posted 01/06/2014 at 11:49:56
Let's face it, Mike, Rodwell was distinctly average with a very poor injury record. His poor fitness record is also very evident at Man City. We got a lot of money for him.... let's just count ourselves lucky and leave well alone. The Transfer Market is global.... there's plenty of talent out there.

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